Nissan 370Z

Nissan’s new 2009 370Z Coupe has arrived, having being just unveiled at the LA Auto Show last week, though we’ve already previously seen leaked product shots on the net before the show.

They’ve intentionally given the new Z a more retro-ish styling that they say pays homage to the original 240Z from the 70s, though there’s nothing retro about that odd headlamp design (that debuted on the new Maxima) that comes with a matching taillamp design. Unlike other cars which seem to grow larger with each generation, the new Nissan 370Z is actually smaller than the Nissan 350Z.

The new car’s wheelbase is a whole 99mm shorter than the 350Z – 2550mm versus 2649mm and its also shorter by about 2.7 inches and lower by 0.3 inches. However it’s wider by 1.3 inches and the rear track also increases by 2.2 inches.

Nissan 370Z

The chassis has also been strengthened, with the front torsion rigidity up by 30% and rear torsion rigidity up by 22%. Rear body vertical bending rigidity is also up by 30%. A new front suspension crade reduces front body lateral bending, while an underbody V bar reduces rear lateral bending. Also, don’t forget the new radiator housing which uses carbon fiber composite.

More aluminium has been used on the 370Z than ever on a Z car before this – for the first time the Z car has aluminum door panels, along with an all-aluminum hood and an aluminium hatch. The front double wishbones also use aluminium and are lighter, while the 4-link rear supension is also stiffer and lighter with the cradle now made of a single piece with no welding.

Nissan 370Z

The engine is the VQ37VHR that debuted in the Infiniti G37 with 332 horses at 7,000rpm and 366Nm of torque at 5,200rpm, but what’s interesting is the transmissions that are mated to this motor. The automatic choice has 7 cogs, a quick lock-up function, automatic throttle blipping on downshifts, and paddle shifts for a closer resemblance to what a manual feels. In manual mode, a quick-shifting mode is activated allowing 0.5 second shifts.

The manual option is a 6-speed manual with what Nissan calls a “SynchroRev Match” feature (it’s an option with the Sport Package, not standard), which automatically rev-matches your engine speed for downshifts. You still operate the clutch and the gear lever normally, its just that the transmission automatically blips and rev-matches for the downshift. Yes, heel and toe is no longer necessary, though you can still do it yourself if you want to by disabling the SynchroRev Match feature.

Nissan 370Z

There are also some differences with the pedals. For one, the aluminium pedals use a new rubber insert material for better grip. The accelerator pedal is now floor mounted like BMWs or the new Honda Civic, while the brake pedal now has a new variable ratio design for easier operation.

The standard wheels are 18 inchers with Yokohama Advan Sport 225/50R18 tyres at the front and a wider 245/45R18 size at the rear. Optional are 19 inch RAYS forged aluminium-alloy wheels wrapped with Bridgestone Potenza RE050A rubber in 245/40R19 and 275/35R19 sizes for the front and rear respectively.

The roadster model will debut sometime in 2009 for the 2010 model year. Look after the jump for a hi-res photo gallery of the new 2009 Nissan 370Z.

PHOTO GALLERY: 2010 Nissan 370Z
Click thumbnails to view high resolution photo